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Alt-week 7.14.2012: Bleeping sheep and ATLAS art


Alt-week peels back the covers on some of the more curious sci-tech stories from the last seven days.

While there might not quite have been the epic science news that we had last week, that doesn't mean that there isn't plenty going on in the world of Alt. In this installment we get to see how CERN tricks out its offices, how one farmer tries to keep his flock, and learn about how the military will be high-tailing around the planet in just a few years. This is alt-week.

Let's start things off on a high -- or should we say fast -- note. Good ole DARPA has announced that it plans to launch a full-scale rocket plane by 2016. Dubbed the "X-plane," it'd travel at a somewhat swift Mach 20 (roughly 13,000 mph,) and would theoretically allow the military to reach anywhere on the planet in less than an hour. Apparently the vehicle would be recoverable, so we're guessing that means it's not manned. To help the project along, DARPA has also started a new program called "Integrated Hypersonics" to build on the department's previous high-speed flight work. Quick quick now!


Okay, so last week was the big Hadron Collider news, but what about a big Hadron Collider? In graffito form? Why the heck not. Muralist Josef Kristofoletti presents us just that. Sure, this isn't exactly some Banksy-style throw up in some down-town ball court. It actually adorns the side of the ATLAS control room, but we think the work wouldn't look out of place at the latest guerrilla gallery either. And there we were thinking physics was all tweed jackets and elaborate jokes.


If New York art schools are to turn out more of these sorts of minds, if Cuomo has anything to do with it, it'll be with much less bullying going on. Well, perhaps this is more for younger minds, but new legislation will require schools to establish methods to detect and deter online bullying. Taking effect from July 1st next year, schools will be required to investigate any student reports of cyberbullying, be it through email, Facebook or instant messaging.


We're not suggesting we start tagging bullys, but one farmer in South Africa had a similar idea for his sheep. By attaching a mobile phone-like device around the neck of one sheep in each of his four flocks, Erard Louw set it up so that it calls home when the sheep start to run. Sounds innocent enough, but sadly, this is not a call Louw wants to receive. The odd fright aside, if sheep are running, it typically means that thieves have broken in to try and steal them. Turns out it wasn't a bad investment though, as one light-fingered fool has already been caught. A call about losing your one of your flock? Not that uncommon.


Seen any other far-out articles that you'd like considered for Alt-week? Working on a project or research that's too cool to keep to yourself? Drop us a line at alt [at] engadget [dot] com

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